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Iraqi Church Leaders: We Want to Speak with Common Voice

By Michelle A.
Vu|Christian Post Reporter

Feb. 20, 2010

A global ecumenical body welcomed “with great hope and deep satisfaction” news that diverse church leaders in Iraq have established a council to speak with a common voice. “In our view, it is a development that augurs as much for the future of the churches in Iraq as it does for Iraq as a nation,” said the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, in a statement Thursday.

The Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq includes all patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and heads of churches in the country from the 14 Christian communities registered in Iraq since 1982. These Christian communities include the Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox as well as Protestant traditions. The new council says its aim is “to unite the opinion, position and decision of the Churches in Iraq on issues” related to churches and state with the hope of “upholding and strengthening the Christian presence, promoting cooperation and joint action without interfering in private matters of the churches or their related entities.

” Iraqi church leaders gathered at the monastery of St. Garabed of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Baghdad on Feb. 9 to launch the council. The leaders say they intend to dialogue and form relations with Muslim brothers and sisters and to promote acceptance of each other’s religion. The council also intends to address the issue of Christian education and renew religious curriculum in public schools in partnership with concerned government institutions. "Iraqi Christians have never viewed themselves as simply a minority community who stand for their own interest,”

Tveit noted. “They have always shown their deep rootedness in the history and civilization of Iraq.” Chaldo-Assyrians, who make up most of Iraq’s Christian population, often point out that they are Iraq’s indigenous people, tracing their history back to [Assyrian and] Babylonian times. Yet despite their ancient heritage, Christians in recent years have increasingly become the target of violence.

This week, four Christians, including two students, were killed within four days in the northern Iraq town of Mosul. The murders have caused more Iraqi Christian families to plan on leaving the country. “It is very difficult to live in this kind of situation,” said the Chaldean Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona of Mosul, on Thursday, to the British branch of the charity Aid to the Church in Need. “It is panic, panic always,” he added. “The Christians don’t know what will happen to them. It is the same everywhere – in the office, at school or even at home. They don’t know if somebody is going to kill them.”

He believes what they are seeing with the violence is an effort to force Christians to leave Mosul. Nona was installed in January, replacing Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who was kidnapped and then found dead in March 2008. Rahho was the second most senior Catholic cleric in Iraq and his death sparked outcry from the small Christian community over the increased violent acts against it. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled Iraq because of the persecution. It is estimated that Christians account for nearly half of all refugees leaving the country, although they make up less than three percent of the country’s population. There are only about 600,000 Iraqi Christians remaining in the country, down from 1.2 million before 2003.  






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Eshwat = February

Iraqi Church Leaders: We Want to Speak with Common Voice Feb. 20, 2010

Fifth Assyrian Killed in a Week in North Iraq Feb. 18, 2010

NEWS ALERT: Up To 6 Christians Killed In Iraq Feb. 18, 2010

Spate of Christian killings before Iraq March vote Feb. 17, 2010

Killing and abduction of Assyrians in Iraq Feb. 17, 2010

Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in Iraq Feb. 15, 2010

January = Kanoon II

Christians killed in Mosul are in the areas where security forces and terrorists coordinate their tactics Jan, 19, 2010

Iraq: Mosul: targeted execution of Christians continues in media and government silence Jan, 19, 2010

Debate in the European Parliament about the plight of the christian of Iraq
Jan, 19, 2010

Iraq: Mosul, a Christian businessman killed as faithful celebrated new archbishopa Jan, 15, 2010

Thousands of Iraqi Refugees Overwhelm Community Service Agencies
in Detroit
Jan, 15, 2010

Christians Suffer from "Ethnic Cleansing" in Iraq Jan, 15, 2010

Attack on Egypt Copts Shows 'Intolerance': US Official Jan, 15, 2010 

Merry Christmas From the World of Islam Jan, 12, 2010

Pope condemns violence against Christians, immigrants Jan, 8, 2010

Iraqi Christians face desperate poverty Jan, 8, 2010

Christians of Iraq; Holy innocents caught up in an unholy war Jan, 3, 2010

December = Kanoon I

Report; 1,960 Iraqi Christians have been killed since the 2003 US-led invasion
Dec.29, 2009

Iraqi Christians Statistics Dec.29, 2009

Europe Waking Up to Honour Killings Dec.28, 2009

Trouble and demonstration of the Shiaa Shabak in Bartella Dec.25, 2009

A Sorrowful Christmas In the Islamic World Dec.26, 2009

Shiites Attack Assyrian Town in North Iraq Dec.25, 2009

3 hurt in the Iraqi city of Bartela as Christians and Shiites scuffle Dec.25, 2009

Iraqi Christians Receive Seasonal Wishes From UN Envoy Dec.25, 2009

Turkey to Open Historic Armenian Church, Opposes Assyrian Genocide
Dec.25, 2009

At Christmas, Christians in the Crosshairs in Allahstan Dec.24, 2009

Iraq Christians mark Christmas under threat Dec.24, 2009

Forced Islamization of Christian Girls Supported By Egyptian State Dec.24, 2009

Orthodox Church Head: Turkey Treats Christians Dec.24, 2009

Iraqi Christians and Shiites Are Targets of Attacks Dec.24, 2009

Church hit and election candidate killed in Iraq attacks Dec.24, 2009

Iraqi Christians Fear More Attacks After Two Church Bombings in Mosul Dec.16, 2009

What nationality were the Wise Men who visited Christ Assyrians? Dec.15, 2009

1915 Assyrian genocide monument in australia Dec.15, 2009

Muslim Scholar Publishes Anti-Christian Book in Egypt Dec.15, 2009

Art show by young assyrian artist in Iraq Dec.14, 2009

UN in sweden calls for investigation into the ethnic cleansing
of Christians in Iraq
December 14, 2009

Christian Leaders Convene in Baghdad to Determine Their Future in Iraq
December 13, 2009

US Congress Reaffirms Importance of Nineveh Plain for Iraq Policy
December 12, 2009

Iraqi-American Christians Blast U.S. Policies in Iraq December 11, 2009

Ancient Tablets Decoded; Shed Light on Assyrian Empire December 11, 2009

Disappearance of Churches of the Middle East, a Tragedy for
Christians and Muslims
December 10, 2009

Assyrian Church Bell Tower in Turkey Threatened in Retaliation for
Swiss Minaret Ban
December 10, 2009

Bombing of Assyrian churches in Iraq continues December 1, 2009

Congressman Peters Introduces Resolution Supporting Iraqi Refugees
December 4, 2009

November = Teeshreen-II

Assyrians in Syria celebrate the anniversary of the historic Fast of Nineveh
Nov.30, 09

Egyptian State Security Accused of Cover-up in Muslim Riots
Nov. 29, 09

Recent Turkish Military Planned Attacks on Christians Nov. 25, 09

Muslim Anti-Christian Riots Spread in Upper Egypt, Video
Shows Looting and Burning
Nov. 25, 09

Assyrian contributions to the Islamic civilization Nov. 24, 09

Muslim Violence Ongoing in Egypt -- Christians Plead For Help Nov. 22, 09

Basra Chaldean prelate celebrates Mass with U.S. troops Nov. 22, 09

Fraidon Atoraya's Music and biography Nov. 21, 09

Sweden's Shame, Violence against Assyriska Nov. 20, 09

Kurdish militia forces Christian Assyrians, the Yezidis and
the Shabak to speak Kurdish
Nov. 18, 09

Iraqi Christians Seek Return, Sense Extinction Nov. 18, 09

Minority Communities in North Iraq Appeal for Protection Nov. 18, 09

Turkish Hackers Facilitate Assyrian Book Sales Nov. 15, 09

Re-integration of Iraqi Refugees Nov. 15, 09

Violence against minority communities in Nineveh Province Nov. 10, 09

U.S. State Department annual International Religious Freedom Report 2009 Nov. 10, 09

Disappearance, Forced Conversions and Marriages of Christian Women in Egyt Nov. 10, 09

Assyriska rises to Sweden's promised land Nov. 10, 09

Militants Kill, Kurds Intimidate Iraqi Minorities Nov. 10, 09

Ancient canal network is recasting archaeologists' understanding of t
he Assyrian capital
Nov. 3, 09

Refugees Turn Their Backs on Iraq Nov. 3, 09

Asking for international investigation about who is terrorizing Iraqi Christians
Nov. 3, 09

October = Teeshreen-I

Foreign Degrees in Hand, No Jobs in Sight for Assyrian Refugees Oct.15, 09

Biblical music with lyrics drawn from the Aramaic and Greek texts Oct. 14, 09

Iranian Female Converts Charged With Apostasy, Spreading Christianity
October 14, 2009

British MPs Call for Investigation of Kurdish Militia in Assyrian Assassinations
October 14, 2009

Assyrian refugees- After ruin in Iraq, a new Life in Minnesota Oct.r 13, 2009

Who is driving non Arab minorities out of Iraq? October 10, 09

U.S. government is failing to help Iraqi refugees resettle Oct. 10, 09

Conflict Between Arabs and Kurds in the Nineveh Province Oct. 10, 09

Christians in Iraq fearing more violence October 07, 2009

Iraqi Government's Inaction about Crimes against Christians Oct. 07, 09

Meeting With Iraqi Official about the plight of Assyrians Oct. 06, 09

Marathon in Brussels Calls Attention to Assyrian Persecution Oct. 05, 09

Body of Kidnapped Assyrian Businessman Discovered in Iraq Oct. 04, 09

Kidnapping of Christian Assyrians in Kirkuk Continues Oct. 04, 09

Iraqi Arabs Wary Of Joint Patrols With Kurds In North Oct. 04, 09

Angelina Jolie Urges World Not to Forget Iraqi Refugees Oct. 04, 09

Anti-Kurdish Militia Demonstrations in Iraq's Mosul Oct.r 02, 09

“Assyrian Medical Society Responds to Refugee Medical Concerns”
October 02, 2009

September = Eilool


The US and the Internal Islamic Threat Sept. 29, 2009

Assyriska defeats Syrianska 1- to Zero Sept. 28, 2009

Kidnapped Christian Doctor Released in Northern Iraq: Police Sept. 28, 2009

Fire Destroys Assyrian Club in Sweden Sept. 28, 2009

Assyrian city of Nineveh Sept. 27, 2009

Kidnapped Assyrian Doctor in Iraq Freed, in Critical Condition Sept. 23, 2009

Statement of Pax Christi Delegation which visited Iraq Sept. 22, 2009

Muslim Man Beheads Christian in Egypt Sept. 21, 2009

Bishop of the Assyrian town of Qaraqosh explains why it's demographic balance should not be changed. Sept. 19, 2009

Assyrians in Iraq Hope for Autonomous Region Sept. 14, 2009

Chaldean Church denial of its Assyrian Heritage Sept. 14, 2009

Kurdish and syriac to be taught in Turkey for the first time Sept. 11, 2009

Cry My Beloved Nation Sept. 11, 2009

Christian Soldiers; Protecting towns in the Plain of Nineveh Sept. 07, 2009

Assyrian Empire: Bringing Civilization to the Near East Sept. 07, 2009

Sargis Agajan; Assyrian Christian Leader in Iraq Has Hope ! Sept. 03, 2009

From Security Withut Freedom to Freedom Without Security Sept. 03, 2009

AUA youth of America statement Sept. 03, 2009

Syria Opens the Gateway to Humanity for the Assyrian Medical Society
Sept. 03, 2009

Assyrian Refugees in Transit; Documentary Film Sept. 02, 2009




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